Walsh Family Wine

On Good Friday I had the chance to visit the Walsh Family Wine in Loudoun County to tour the vineyards, taste some wines and hear what’s going on from Nate Walsh.

I met our wine friends Kurt and Carol from Wine About Virginia on a very windy hill at Walsh Family Vineyards. We made plans to meet up with our wine friend Susan McHenry. She was running late. We said our hellos and followed Nate Walsh out to the vineyards. The site we visited is known as Bethany Ridge. Nate told us there are 20 acres planted with Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Petit Manseng, (and a teeny bit of Gruner Veltliner), Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Tannat.

Nate told us of another vineyard not far away called Twin Notch Farm. This site has 8 acres planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Nate talked about the recent deal with Northgate Vineyards. He will be making the wine there and keeping the winery running since Mark and Vicki Fedor have decided to move on to their next chapter. He plans to keep things the same and maybe eventually have Walsh Family Wines involved in some way.

After our vineyard tour and talk, we joined others at the picnic tables to taste some wines. We were able to taste the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Rosé, the 2016 Viognier and finally a red blend created from tannat and cab sauvignon that was blended for the Tarara wine club. All of the wines were very good and I favored the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2017 Rosé.

After tasting the wines and chatting more with Nate, it was time to buy some wines and head home. We hope to see more of Nate soon at Northgate and we look forward to tasting the wines he creates. If you visit Walsh Family Wine or see Nate, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Big Cork Vineyards

Seven years ago we attended the groundbreaking event for Big Cork Vineyards. We had not been back since then. After the most recent snow we made plans to visit and were so glad we finally made it back to Big Cork Vineyards.

Randy Thompson and Dave Collins have certainly created an amazing experience at Big Cork Vineyards. While they made almost two dozen different wines, the tasting menu is tastefully limited to six nice choices. We thoroughly enjoyed the wine tasting at the expansive tasting bar. We particularly enjoyed the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2015 Nebbiolo. We were very impressed with the wines crafted by Dave Collins. We were already familiar with his work because of our membership at Breaux Vineyards where Dave was the winemaker for 14 years. We wanted to try the 2016 Reserve Chardonnay but it was only available to club members. I was very curious about the 2016 Reserve Chardonnay that I decided to join the club so that we could enjoy the chardonnay with some lunch items.

After our tasting we crossed the tasting room to the market area. We selected some items for lunch and picked up the bottle of the 2016 Reserve Chardonnay. It was everything we had hoped it would be. And it paired well with our lunch items. In the market area there is a comfortable seating area. There is also a covered patio area for warmer times. The day we were there they had live music out on the patio. The patio has wonderful views of the vineyards.

Before leaving we picked up our club wines and purchased a few more. We do plan to return to Big Cork Vineyards but sooner than seven years. If you happen to visit Big Cork Vineyards in Maryland, please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Good Things Come In Threes

I posted recently about our third anniversary dinner being complemented with the 2012 “3”; today, I post about another trio but this time the focus is on three wines which we received from Rosemount of Virginia. Rosemount of Virginia has always impressed us; however, we have never visited the winery—-it’s located in the very southern part of the state and therefore quite a drive for us. Our tasting of these wines occurred at events or festivals where Rosemount of Virginia wines are poured. We were therefore very excited to find this trio greeting us at our front door!

The first of the trio that we enjoyed was the 2017 Rose produced from the Chambourcin grape. This dry rose was fermented in stainless steel tanks and presented fruity notes of red berries and a refreshing fruity palate. This rose should be perfect for summer barbecues; however, I enjoyed it with spicy shrimp creole.

On a colder winter’s evening, we poured the 2015 Kilravock, a blend of Merlot (40%), Cabernet Franc (36%), and Petit Verdot (24%). It was aged in both new and used oak barrels; of the new oak, 75% of aging time occurred in French oak barrels with the remainder spent in Virginia oak. On the nose it presented brambleberries, dark cherry, and licorice. Flavors of blackberry, cherry, and anise finished with caramel to suggest oak nuances. It paired quite well with our winter comfort meal that included roasted eye of round roast, mashed potatoes, and roasted carrots flavored with tarragon. (I will add that I decanted this one before pouring.)

The 2015 Merlot was the last of the three wines, and it was also our favorite. It was aged for 18 months in barrels (some new and some used; some time in Virginia oak barrels and some time in French oak barrels.). I decanted the Merlot before serving, and this seemed to open the aromas of cherry, plum, forest floor, and cedar. The palate was greeted with cherry, blackberry, and licorice flavors; Paul caught a taste of blueberry, and we both enjoyed an oak kiss on the finish. It paired quite well with filet mignon, roasted potatoes seasoned with parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, and roasted asparagus.

We do appreciate the trio of lovely wines sent to us by Rosemount of Virginia, and we know that we will visit Rosemount of Virginia to sample these and their other well-crafted wines. In the meantime, readers may want to visit the winery sooner rather than later. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Wacky Winter Weather Doesn’t Stop Bloggers!

Wintry mixes, gale force winds, and wild temperatures have not deterred us from hitting the wine trails in 2018. In recent weekends, we visited Tarara Winery, Gray Ghost Vineyards, and Rappahanock Cellars; along the way, we met up with fellow bloggers Kurt and Carol of Wine About Virginia and supreme oenophile/good friend Susan McHenry.

Our trip to Tarara Winery was threatened by a winter advisory that was issued for later in the afternoon. However, we decided to go with the intent to get their early and then leave early before the winter weather arrived. Danielle, our wine educator, gave us an expert tasting of winemaker Jordan Harris’ excellent wines. Of the white wines, the 2015 Viognier and the 2013 Neveah White were my favorites. The Viognier presented floral aromas with notes of tropical fruit and honey. On the palate, I noted tropical fruit with a nice, round mouth feel. The Neveah White is a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier; it displayed ripe pear and pineapple characteristics with a touch of oak on the finish. Favorite red wines included the 2015 Long Bomb 9, a red blend led by Cabernet Sauvignon followed by Merlot, Syrah and Tannat. Notes of tobacco, clover, blackberry and anise gave way to a fruity palate with pepper on the finish; it was also a bit “chewy”. I’d recommend decanting before serving. The 2012 Neveah Red was a juicy treat with elements of blackberry, currants, tobacco and cedar. Oh—-the wintry mix? In keeping with the fickle winter that has been 2018, it never materialized.

However, our winter hurricane did strike the area, and many wineries were closed due to power outages. Gray Ghost Vineyards was able to operate thanks to a generator, so we were able to attend their annual barrel tasting. Here we met bloggers Kurt and Carol Jensen and dear friend Susan McHenry. Group favorites were the 2016 Petit Verdot and the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. I was also a fan of the lighter-bodied and fruity 2017 Cabernet Franc that was still in the barrel but oh so ready to enjoy. From Gray Ghost Vineyards we made our way to Rappahanock Cellars. Rappahanock Cellars has added sparkling wines to their lineup of quality wines, and I enjoyed the Sparkling Rose with its strawberry flavors and bright acidity. The dry Rose Reserve and the 2015 Cabernet Franc were other standouts; however, at the end of our tasting, the group was in the mood for Chardonnay, and the 2015 Chardonnay did not disappoint. Pear flavors with a rich mouth feel and an oak kiss paired well with the platter of cheeses that we ordered to finish the wonderful (and less windy) afternoon.

Spring is around the corner, and the finicky winter of 2018 will be history. Plan to visit these wineries as we transition to warmer days and spring landscapes colored with fragrant blossoms. Of course, mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

King Family 2014 Meritage Wins Governor’s Cup

Congratulations to outstanding winemaker, Matthieu Finot, for winning the Virginia Governor’s Cup. It was Finot’s 2014 Meritage that earned the coveted Cup!

We are fortunate to already have a bottle of the big winner on our wine rack, and we intend to hold on to it for a while longer. Merlot leads the way with this blend (50%) followed by Petit Verdot (23%), Cabernet Franc (21%), and Malbec (6%).

Be sure to visit King Family Vineyards to experience this top of the class red blend for yourself, and please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!